The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
The Morning Heresy salutes the great Lindsay Beyerstein, whose last episode of Point of Inquiry has now been posted, quite appropriately with guest Sarah Posner, discussing Trump’s hijacking of the religious right.
The Alabama Senate votes to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to have its own goddamn police force. Coincidentally, I’ll be captain of the all-new CSICOP, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry COPS. Bad boys, watcha gonna do?
Bhavya Dore at Religion News Service reports on the hostility toward atheists in India:
India has not been a hospitable place for nonreligious people who publicly admit to it. Neither has neighboring Bangladesh, a Muslim country, where a spate of secularist writers were killed in recent years, or Pakistan, India’s neighbor to the west. “You just can’t criticize religion,” said Soorya Sriram, 26, who identifies as atheist and is an administrative member of the Indian Atheists’ Facebook page. “People say talk to our hands or to our sticks.”
Sean Spicer. I dunno, man.
Jeff Sessions is taking forensic science away from forensic scientists, and Erin E. Murphy says this will mean “an embarrassing parade of wrongful conviction, tragic incompetence, laboratory scandal and absurdly unsupported forensic findings.”
Vlad Savov at The Verge warns us away from an Indiegogo campaign for a belly fat zapping tech product, which is “presenting no scientific evidence to underpin its revolutionary claims.”
Britt Marie Hermes, a former naturopath, writes about the case of current naturopath Kim Kelly, who injected a turmeric solution into a patient as an eczema treatment, which the San Diego Medical Examiner says killed her.
I didn’t expect this: Egypt’s parliament is drafting a bill for its own burqa ban in public places.
So the guy who wrote the book about the events upon which The Conjuring movies are based now says the whole thing is bunk, and therefore he can sue the filmmakers, who claim “fair use” of “historical facts.” Joe Nickell explains.
Ann Neumann looks to the book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia to better understand the thinking of its author, the new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
New Hampshire is considering its own take on voucher schemes with the hilariously named “Education Freedom Savings Accounts,” which I believe can be used to purchase freedom fries at lunch.
Ben Radford lends skeptical perspective to Facebook’s well-intentioned safety check-in feature, activated in times of emergency or disaster:
To be clear, the feature likely gives comfort to the small percentage of potentially affected people marked safe, and that’s worth something. But someone not checking in as Safe doesn’t mean anything: They could be a continent away and oblivious to the event, or they could be dead. Statistically, it’s likely that over 99% of the people who don’t check in are safe as well.
The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has a weird overview of homeopathy for animals, taking an excruciatingly neutral position as though there is a legitimate debate about the efficacy of this, ahem, hogwash.
Theo Hobson considers Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” idea, and has this to say about secular humanism:
I do not see this ideology as a cunning trick of the devil, but as part of God’s cunning plan. … the secular humanism of the West is firmly rooted in Christianity. It should be seen as an offshoot of Christianity.
Time to paraphrase Blackadder: “Baldrick, you wouldn’t see a cunning plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing ‘Cunning plans are here again!'”
Is this a hoax? I have to think this is a hoax.
Gordon Klingenschmitt says Katy Perry is ruled by Satan, and I’m all, NO, sir, Satan is ruled by Katy Perry.
🎵 Al-ban-i-a! Al-ban-i-a! You are a mo-del of re-lig-ious TOLERANCE. 🎵
Quote of the Day:
Dylan Matthews of Vox explains why he gave his kidney to a stranger:
I studied moral philosophy as an undergrad, and there’s a famous thought experiment about a man who walks by a shallow pond where a child is drowning
and does nothing, because leaping in to save the child might muddy his clothes. If I kept walking around with two kidneys, when there were more than 100,000 people on the kidney waitlist who would most likely die in the next five years if they didn’t get one, was I doing anything different from that man, really? Wasn’t I, like him, letting another person die to avoid a small cost to myself?
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